Monday, September 28, 2009

Men and aging...

Here's an interesting example of two extremes:

Though fairly unrecognizable, I have to give Andrew Ridgeley credit for aging gracefully and still looking like a man. George Michael, on the other hand (scroll down) has had some kind of crazy eye lift that even his sunglasses can't hide.

And if you read the entire article, you'll notice the mention of a Bananarama reunion, which of course I am very excited about!

Friday, September 25, 2009

My two year-old and a tin of Nivea...

I was out grocery shopping, my husband was left in charge, and he had just put my daughter in bed for her afternoon nap. He thought she was fast asleep, but when he went to investigate noises coming from our bedroom, he found this:

(My husband speaks to our daughter in his native tongue, Russian, we are hoping she'll grow up bilingual. So far so good.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Do-It-Yourself Eyebrow Threading

My friend Daphne, a gorgeous Audrey Hepburn lookalike with enviably thick and perfectly arched eyebrows, recently confessed to me that she 'threads' them herself. She swears by it to clean up under the brows and take care of any other unwanted hair on the face.

I had only ever seen threading done by the beautiful Persian girls I went to hairdressing school with. I would watch them on our lunch hour, their fingers moving the thread with surprising speed and precision. It looked complicated, like one of those skills I'd never quite pick up unless I'd been born to a Middle-Eastern family where sisters and mothers and aunts taught me from an early age. I had never seen anyone do it on themselves so it certainly never even occurred to me to attempt it, but after having it done professionally a few times, my friend Daphne was determined to do it herself. After spending much time browsing YouTube for the most informative tutorial, she sent me this link to the one she found most helpful:

Another reason I never learned more about threading is that I don't have much to thread. I'm nervous to try it on my sparse and skinny eyebrows as there isn't much to work with and zero margin for errors. In recent years though, I have sprouted some strange little hairs on my chin that I've been tweezing. Since threading is faster than tweezers and gentler to the skin than waxing, I think this could be a better solution for me.

One last tip, Daphne recommends 100% cotton thread, as it grips the hairs better. Let me know how you make out if you try it.

Happy threading!

(Note: Towards the end of the YouTube video there is a part where the eyebrows are trimmed with manicure scissors, ignore this, eyebrow trimming is 95% of the time a terrible idea.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

The last pedicure of summer...

No matter how busy I am, I always make time for nice toes. Since salon pedicures are expensive and I'd rather put that money towards a massage or a beauty product, I prefer to do my own. Besides, I think I do a better job myself. Quick, easy, affordable, DIY pedicures are one of my most enjoyable beauty rituals. After taking care of my two year-old all day, that half hour alone spent painting my toenails in the bathroom sometimes feels like a whole day at the spa. I also enjoy planning in advance what colors to wear. Obviously, it's not one of the day's more important details, which is why I find it so much fun to think about. It's a nice little escape for a couple of seconds or so.

To celebrate the last few (and hopefully great!) days of summer I am wearing my perfect red (after trying many), OPI Red. It's rich, classic, and just a touch on the blue-red side with a very, very slight pink iridescence. It goes on like a dream and wears like iron. I wanted to pick a shade I really love because with the cold weather just around the corner, it's the last chance for my feet to be on public display until spring 2010.

Next up will be the very exciting first pedicure of fall and of course I have already chosen the color because I refuse to slack off and neglect my feet just because it's no longer sandal season. And the winner is:

'Angora Cardi' from the new Essie Fall Collection, a deep, dusty rose/plum cream. Check it out, it's lovely.

Drop me a line and let me know your fall favourites!

And now back to the more pressing things on the list of things to do today...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Vbeam Laser, the scoop!

Due to what I believe is a combination of mild rosacea and overzealous use of a Buf Puf as a teenager, I had quite a few broken capillaries on my cheeks, chin, and nose. For a good part of my twenties, I accepted my facial redness as something I'd just have to live with. I tried all kinds of different skincare products, from anti-redness creams with supposed 'capillary-strengthening' ingredients such as horse chestnut, licorice root, vitamin K, etc. to a variety of prescription creams, gels, and lotions. The thing is, once the capillaries are visible, no cream is going to get rid of them. So then I set out to cover them with all kinds of green-tinted day creams, concealers, bases, and finishing powders. Yes, green does indeed cancel red, but then you have to cover the green with more makeup, which only added to my skin problems. I spent a lot of money and wasted a lot of time, so I was thrilled when Vbeam laser became an option for me.

'It's like little rubber bands, snapping on your face'

How many times have you heard this phrase used to describe laser procedures? Well, I'm here to tell you Vbeam is a hell of a lot more painful than that. It's really more like thick rubber bands (that are on fire) being pulled back really far, and then snapped hard on your face. At first you think, this isn't so bad, but after 5 minutes or so of being zapped all over at a rate of about one snap per second, you literally feel like you've stuck your face in a hornet's nest. The laser machine itself makes a lot of strange sounds, and you hear a 'splat-crunch' noise with every shot. I do get some comic relief when the technician, whose first language is French, tells me to 'watch out!' as she does more sensitive areas (such as the tip of the nose) as if I should jump off the table and run away or something. I usually end up laughing and I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm crazy. Anyway, afterwards, you feel the burn for at least a half hour and you may have bruising or swelling. I only have bruising sometimes, but I always have the swelling, which goes away after a few days. The difference is visible almost immediately, but it takes about a month to see the full result.

So why do I do this? It sounds terrible and unfortunately (as with most beauty treatments) it does hurt, but the results are still well worth it if you suffer from facial redness and rosacea. Along with vaporizing all those tiny broken blood vessels that make skin look uneven, it also diminishes fine lines and shrinks the pores. I love the way it gives me a clear, snow-white porcelain complexion. My skin is less oily and I rarely have breakouts. So far, this is my tenth Vbeam laser treatment. The first time, I did a series of 6 treatments, once a month. Now I just do touch-ups once or twice a year.

So if you're tired of wasting money on ineffective or temporary solutions like 'redness relieving' creams, 'calming' lotions, and green concealers, I highly recommend Vbeam laser. It is a proven, effective, and safe treatment. At $225 CAD per session, the results are worth every penny.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil: Fabulous

I always consider myself extremely lucky when I find a skincare product that a) doesn't irritate my sensitive skin or cause my rosacea to flare up, b) doesn't clog my pores and c) actually delivers what it promises. I had been using the same facial cleanser (a product recommended by my dermatologist) for the last 8 years, thinking that this was as good it was going to get for me. Though it didn't irritate my skin, unfortunately this cleanser never really did a great job of removing my makeup or making my face feel really clean. So, I have always been on the look out for a cleanser that would thoroughly, yet gently, do the job.

I think I have found my holy grail of facial cleansers in DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.

I had been hearing about this product for a while, but it wasn't until I saw a full-page ad for it in Elle France that I was reminded that I really should give it a try. I ordered the smaller-sized bottle (2.3 fl. oz. for $12.50 CAD) and with it received 6 samples, and a $5-off coupon for my next order. Nice.

I am pleased to report (after 3 weeks of use) that not only does it dissolve all traces of makeup, dirt, and excess oil, it seems to really deep clean my pores, making them less congested and less visible. My skin never feels dry or tight after using this, and I haven't had any breakouts or other reactions. My face is soft and glowing, so much though, that I seriously thought I might be pregnant again. I'm not though, it's just the DHC.

So I will have another glass of wine after all...